Friday, July 31, 2009

July's Blurby Recap

Still not reading as much as I usually do in the summer. I'm blaming it on working outside the home for 12 hours a week. I must have used those 12 hours for lots of good reading. But here's what I accomplished this month:

Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings: The beginning of Garion's adventure in which he learns his life up to this point may not have been what it seemed to be.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin: Mr. Westing dies and sends bunch of people who are connected to him somehow on a quest to figure out his murderer.

The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham: Kitty's husband makes her go with him to fight a cholera epidemic after her learns of her affair.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart: Frankie wants badly to infiltrate the boys' secret club.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy: A father and his son are among the last survivors of a post-apocalyptic America and follow the road to their final destination.

One Whole and Perfect Day by Judith Clarke: Lily dreams of a day where all her family can solve their differences and come together happily.

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen: Remy has issues with love but learns that maybe she can change her views.

For my favorites of the month I'd have to say The Road, and One Whole and Perfect Day.

What did you read this month?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Favorite Past Posts

For the Blog Improvement Project this week, the task is to create a page with some of our favorite posts highlighted then add the link to our page. So here's my list:

Favorite Reviews

Farworld by J. Scott Savage
The Hunt for Dark Infinity by James Dashner
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

Most Commented On

Reading: Luxury or Necessity?
A Comment or Two on Comments
Weekly Geeks: Judge a Book by Its Cover
Decorating the Tree

Favorite Personal Posts

A Few of My Favorite Things
A Personal Meme
Ramblin' Friday Thoughts
A Look Back: Two Year Blogiversary

Miscellaneous Favorites

Weekly Geeks: Author Pictures
Weekly Geeks: Author Fun Facts (Markus Zusak and John Green)
Review: The American Idol Concert
Seven Song Music Meme

Booking Through Thursday: Recent Funny

What’s the funniest book you’ve read recently?

A simple question from Booking Through Thursday this week. And I can't really think of an answer since most of what I read isn't really that funny I guess. I'm thinking the last "funny" book I read was Just One Wish by Janette Rallison. Even though it also had its very serious moments, there were a lot of funny ones too. In fact, if you feel in the mood for light and funny, read any of her books. They are perfect for that.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Review: One Whole and Perfect Day by Judith Clarke

Book: One Whole and Perfect Day by Judith Clarke
Genre: YA
Rating: A

For: The Printz Project (Printz Honor 2008)

This book follows the stories of several members of one family, and how they work to all come together and drop their differences for one whole and perfect day.

There's Lily who feels she is the "sensible" one in her family, the one who cooks, cleans, plans and manages the day to day stuff that keeps them alive. She's even been too sensible for love, and she's sick of it. She's ready to throw caution to the wind and admit to liking Daniel.

There's Lily's brother, Lonnie, who's off to university (as they say in Australia), and barely keeping contact with the family. That's because he's been branded a slacker and no one thinks he can get his life back together. Especially Pop, his and Lily's grandfather.

Pop has his own issues. He finds his mother's wedding dress and it brings back all kinds of memories. Maybe he should make it up with Lonnie. And there's that homeless girl that keeps nagging at his brain.

And the list goes on with all the people in the story and their various stresses. I totally enjoyed the simplicity of this book. The problems weren't HUGE issues, just normal every day type things that everyone has to deal with. At first, it was a little hard to keep track of everyone as the story jumped from viewpoint to viewpoint, but soon, it started to make sense where it was headed and I couldn't wait to see how it all shaped up.

It was wonderful and uplifting, which was quite refreshing to me.

Other Reviews:
and that's all the reviews I can find at the moment. Please let me know if you've reviewed it so I can link!

Review: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Book: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Genre: YA
Rating: A
For: Fun

I have an ongoing quest to get caught up with all the Sarah Dessen books. This one appeared at our house from the library, and so I dropped all other reading plans and picked it up. Besides, it seemed like a perfect thing to read after The Road.

This story is about Remy, who is helping her mother plan her fifth wedding, and because of this example in her life, she's down on love. She keeps herself distant and breaks ups with guys whenever things seem to be getting complicated.

Then she meets Dexter, who sings in a struggling band. He's different and suddenly she feels all her former rules falling apart.

In the end, I liked this book simply for the statement it makes on love. And I like that Remy is forced to rethink her position on the subject.

Like all Sarah Dessen books, this has its "why'd she have to throw THAT in moments." But I enjoyed it despite them.

Other Reviews:

The Book Nest
Reviewer X

Monday, July 27, 2009

Random Thoughts and Other Junk

We just got back from camping today, and my brain is fuzzy. But I feel the need to post, so I figured I might, just might, be able to handle a random style one before I completely succumb to some more Gilmore Girls dvds! :) Ah, Rory and Jess.

So yeah, we went camping. I took, I think, five books along. I settled on one, after arrival, and read about 100 pages of it. That one was The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson, which is the sequel to Mistborn. It's okay so far, but hasn't really grabbed me yet.

Then I came home to find The Naming (The first book of the Pellinor series) and an ARC for a new E.L. Doctorow book in my mailbox! PLUS, I just checked out Drood from the library last week, which looks like something totally up my alley. So, now I'm having thoughts of abandoning Vin the Mistborn, for one of these other books. Ah, the stress.

I just watched two very very fun teaser clips from New Moon. But, you can only click here on this link if you are a fan, because, you know, you just won't get it if you aren't! That's because there's lots and lots of fan screaming. I loved it. Ah, Jacob.

So, back to camping. We only had half our kids present. Two oldest kids are off on adventures of their own. I missed them like crazy! I thought it would be great to only have to deal with, and keep track of two kids. But, I think I'd rather have all my kids there with me. Ah, family.

Speaking of which, I thought I'd share a picture I love of my husband and oldest kid who turns... dare I say it... 20 in just a month. Dang, where does the time go? Silly boys.

Well, that appears to be all my random thoughts of the day. Have a nice rest of today!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Review: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Review: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Genre: Dystopian
Review: A
For: TBR and Pulitzer Project (2007 winner )

I wanted to embed the trailer for the upcoming movie to illustrate the scariness and gut-wrenching feeling of this book. But, it's disabled of course, so click here for The Road trailer if you're interested.

After hearing about this one for, I don't know, at least a year now, I was really anxious to read it. But, I had no idea what to expect really. That's because most of you that have reviewed it seem to either love it or hate it. So yet again, it was another one of those books I was a little nervous about.

So what category do I fall in now that I've read it? Hopefully there's a middle ground (I almost said "road" but decided that would be too much) for some of us because I neither loved nor hated it!

For those not yet familiar with the story, it's actually very simple. There's been an apocalyptic event years before the story begins, and there's only a few survivors left. Two of them, a dad and his young son, are among them, and their whole existence is walking down the road, trying to survive. Some of the stuff they come across and have to deal with is simply awful. Very scary in fact. This is the part I didn't like so much.

But the relationship between these two is wonderful and beautiful.... and so so sad. And their perseverance to survive is inspirational. This, as you know, is the part I enjoyed.

So tell me, if you've read The Road, did you love it, hate it, or fall somewhere in the middle? Do you plan on seeing the movie?

Other Reviews:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blog Post Bingo Take Two Wrap Up

So, I didn't do near as well as last time, but it was fun to try! Here's what I did, or didn't post:

A link post: nope, not a specific link post this time

A Short post: I had a couple, but I'm counting the BBAW Post

An Opinion Post: I gave an opinion and asked every one's opinion on Reading: Luxury or Necessity?

A Poll or Question Post – Dang! This one should have been easy. Oh, well. Next time!

A How-to Post: I couldn't think of anything I was an expert on this time!

A Long Post : I didn't feel wordy either, so none of my recent posts were long enough

A Review Post – I'm counting my
American Idol Concert review instead a book review

A Definition post: nope, not this time

A Personal Post: how about my
TV Talk post about The Gilmore Girls

A Resource Post: I had an idea for this one, but never managed to make it happen. Oh, well.

FREE SPACE – Can I count this week's Weekly Geek with all the movie embedding about
Great Movie Adaptations as this post? I hope so.

Booking Through Thursday: Preferences

Booking Through Thursday asks us to answer... quickly.. the following questions:

Which do you prefer?
Reading something frivolous? Or something serious?
I love them both! I can't pick on this one!

Paperbacks? Or hardcovers?

Fiction? Or Nonfiction?

Poetry? Or Prose?

Biographies? Or Autobiographies?

History? Or Historical Fiction?
Historical fiction

Series? Or Stand-alones?
Another one I can't pick because I love them both equally.

Classics? Or best-sellers?
Classics, if I HAD to pick, through I love best-sellers too.

Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose?
What's Markus Zusak's style considered? Lurid or basic? Whatever he does, that's what I love. I don't like major wordy stuff, but I love simple basic prose done in an amazing creative way.

Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness?

Long books? Or Short?

Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated?

Borrowed? Or Owned?

New? Or Used?
new, if I had to pick one, but used is great too.

Fun little exercise this week!

Weekly Geeks 2009.27: Best Movie Adaptations

Over at Weekly Geeks this week it's all about movies, specifically, what movies we think were wonderful adaptations from books. I think there's many, but the first ones that come to mind for me are:

Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth one of course)

The Lord of the Rings (I especially like the first one)

Holes (we've watched it over and over)

Chocolat (I love this movie, but have never read the book... yet... so I'm wondering if it's a good adaptation or not. What do you think?)

The Princess Bride (one of my all time favorites)

I'm really looking forward to the adaptations of The Time Traveler's Wife, The Hunger Games (there is going to be one right?), Beastly, Pope Joan and The Lightning Thief..... and.... what else? I know there's more! Oh, New Moon of course! :)

I think a good movie could be made from The Goose Girl, Katherine, and perhaps The Book Thief. Oh, and maybe a gazillion others.

Ah, books and movies, both so fun!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Book: Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Genre: YA
Rating: B+
For: Printz Project

So I was really looking forward to this one. It seems lots of people have given it a great review. So I nabbed it from the library to add it to my Printz Project pile of the summer.

However, I must say, I just didn't get this one. I mean, it was good, and entertaining and fun, but the whole point of the book, I just didn't get it.

It's about Frankie, who goes to school at this posh boarding school, and she's just been dumped by her boyfriend of the previous year. So she's ready to start anew. And because of the great and wonderful physical change that's come over her during the summer, she is suddenly noticed, and ends up embraced by a very fun group of boys.

So what's the problem? She is just not happy because these boys have a secret club and she is so bugged to not be part of it! So I found myself thinking "Frankie, you're weird" and "whatever" all the time.

Bottom line, I think the book got a little preachy on women's rights issues, which just seemed a little jarring to me.

BUT, there's many who loved it, so be sure and check out their reviews too!

Other Reviews:

Becky’s Book Reviews
Books. Lists. Life.
Casual Dread

and finally Jessica of The Bluestocking Society who just barely posted her review also (and whose list of reviews I just swiped because I'm lazy and didn't want to look up all the links myself, so giving her the credit for that!)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Reading: Luxury or Necessity?

I overheard a conversation the other day about reading. One person mentioned that they don't have that luxury... to read. I instantly felt defensive. Why does this always make me so crazy?

I think it's because in my head, reading is not a luxury but a necessity. No matter how busy I am, or how crazy a day is, reading will still happen. (Well, usually. I mean, there ARE days where I do collapse dead tired in bed.)

But if it's considered a luxury to others, than I must be extravagant with my time since I read even if things get insane, right?


Well, at least to me. Reading IS a necessity. If a day goes by without reading, I notice it and it feels weird to me.

Really and truly, I have to have it.

So, what do you think? Luxury or necessity? I need your opinion, since this is officially my opinion post for this installment of Blog Post Bingo! :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Sunday Salon: Not a Review of The Road

This weekend my book of choice was The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I just finished it minutes ago. Wow. This book was quite the contrast. I think it was a very easy book to read word-wise and length-wise.... and yet, such a hard book to read subject-wise. In fact, it was horrific in parts.

But, this is not a review post! So enough on that! But that was my reading experience this weekend so far.

I grabbed a Sarah Dessen book from the library, This Lullaby. I think I'm going to jump right into that one next. That should be a nice contrast from The Road.

Oh, I knocked off a few War and Peace pages this week too! I know. Amazing.

But my Gilmore Girls marathon is really cutting into my reading time. How to balance the two leisure activities of choice? I have no idea.

Other random Sunday thoughts:

- We hope to see Harry Potter tomorrow afternoon. We're feeling very out of the loop seeing it almost a whole week into its run!

- Yesterday it was 102 degrees at least. Not my favorite part of the summer, that's for sure.

- My daughter's friends came and raided our YA books stash! There were three of them, and they each took like 10 books! I was in a bit of a panic... and now, I really hope that we see those books again.

- We're going camping this week. Keep your fingers crossed that everything turns out fun and that there are no bears wandering around like there were a couple of years ago!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Review: The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

Book: The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

Genre: Literary Fiction (old enough now to nearly be a classic, published 1925))

Rating: A-

For: TBR Challenge

I didn't really know what to expect from this book, but it seems like I've been reading some pretty good reviews lately. I bought it years ago simply because the author was one I'd heard of but never read yet. (Besides, it was on sale I think!) Also it was around the time the movie came out, a movie I have yet to see, but looks pretty good actually. (Click here for the movie trailer if you are interested.)

The story is about a girl, Kitty, who marries this guy just to get out of the house and away from her family and sister. He takes her to Hong Kong where she promptly has an affair. When he discovers this, he takes her away with him to the countryside to help with a cholera epidemic. It's there that Kitty grows up some, learns to appreciate life a bit more, and realizes that her husband is perhaps a better man than she thought.

So, I liked it fine. It didn't wow me or anything, but I would recommend it. Kitty was a quite the whiny character and I never really felt sorry for her. (I DID feel sorry for her husband however.) I do give her credit for starting to come around a bit, however, it all ended before I could tell if she really DID learn anything.

From watching the above mentioned movie trailer, I can see that the movie has much in it that was never in the book. In fact, it bothered me that the scene on my book cover (which is from the movie I think) never happened. Also, I don't get the title. Anyone who has read it want to explain that one to me?

Other Reviews:

A Comfy Chair and a Good Book

Kimmie's Krap
The Magic Lasso

Second Annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week

Last year, My Friend Amy came up with the coolest idea. The idea was to have a week were we as book bloggers celebrate each other and our blogging community. It was a blast.

So of course this year, it's happening again September 14-18. Be sure to go to the official page to learn more about it all and to register and to nominate blogs for awards in a bunch of different categories.

You don't want to miss out! Come join the fun!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

TV Talk: It's All About Gilmore Girls

One of the downer things about summer is that there's no new TV. It's one of those things I don't get... because, don't most people have more time to "laze" around in the summer and enjoy TV? During the school year, life is insane usually, and then, if we allow ourselves to get addicted, we have to figure out how to fit TV in along with all the other craziness. I guess perhaps there's vacations and such in the summer and people are gone, but still, I've never really understood it.

But anyway, this summer, we've taken matters into our own hands around here and have addicted ourselves to some old TV shows. Shows we've missed over the years before the advent of cool TV recording devices. We've gone to the library and rented seasons of Buffy, Smallville, and most importantly Gilmore Girls!

Yes, it's been a major Gilmore Girl fest around here. We watched half of the first season awhile back, so we got the DVDs again, finished up the first season, and are now nearly done with season 2.

So since I am so into this Gilmore Girl mode lately, I decided I needed to discuss it even though for most of you this is all ancient history!

My thoughts:
  • The dialogue for this show is a blast! You better pay attention, or you'll for sure miss something extremely witty!

  • I love all the pop culture/book/movie/music references. So fun.

  • I'm aching for Luke and Lorelei to get together. I know it's going to take them forever though, because of course that's part of what kept people watching, right?

  • Seeing Milo whatshisname aka. Peter from Heroes show up as the brooding teenager Jess has been very fun. He is so different from his Heroes character!

  • But I really love the Dean dude too, and am curious to know what he's been doing since Gilmore Girls. I think he's in something else too, as the bad guy now?

  • Sometimes I lose interest when the storyline follows the mom and dad. They are kinda irritating.

  • But I love the Paris stuff and the Lane stuff. They are both great too.

So let me know, are/were you a Gilmore Girls fan? What was YOUR favorite part about the show? What season was your favorite? Is there a point where I should stop watching?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Review: American Idol Concert

Concert: American Idol Top Ten
Genre: Pop/Rock
Rating: A
For: my ongoing flirtation with a mid-life crisis which causes me to think it necessary to join in the celebration of all things pop culture such as American Idol

What a rockin' time we had last night! They started right out with a bang, no preliminary goofiness, with the #10 Idol, Michael Sarver. He was fun and enthusiastic, but sang a couple of songs I didn't really know so I couldn't easily sing along with him.

Then we moved to #9, and our hometown girl, Megan Joy. The comparison between the crowd's excitement for her, and its excitement for David Archuleta last year was.... interesting. We clapped politely for Megan, but for David last year, we screamed the roof off until he was overwhelmed with tears. It was great! But Megan... I just think no one really "gets" her. She sang and we endured.

Up next was #8, Scott, who I totally love. He has the clearest, most clean sounding voice of them all I think. He rose up out of the stage, sitting at the piano, and sang "1000 Miles" and something else I like but didn't really know. He was great with the crowd and had wonderful stage presence. I loved it.

Let's see, #7 was Lil. She did three songs I think, and one was that "All The Single Ladies" song that got everyone up and dancing. She sounded awesome.

Anoop was next at #6, and wow, he was also amazing. I wanted to stand and scream for him too, but sadly, it appeared I was in a bit of a dead audience section. I hate it when that happens.

Then we were to #5, which was Matt. Wow. Did he have some energy or what! And he ROCKED on the piano! Amazing.

Then those first six did a group number with Matt and Scott dueling it out on the piano together during "Tell Her About It." That was a blast too.

Intermission. Boring. I hate intermissions usually. I noticed so many people going up and down past our aisle seat during the concert itself that I wondered why we even needed one. Sheesh. People, if you are paying a ton of money for a concert like this, why not SIT (or stand as the case may be) and WATCH the show! Just wondering.

Alison, #4, brought us back from intermission rocking out to "Barracuda," along with a couple of other songs. She had it going on for sure.

Danny was next, and I loved listening to him. He sang "What Hurts the Most" and a couple of others that were quite inspirational.

THEN... finally.... what the audience had been waiting for! The energy was intense. Everyone was holding their breath, then screamed like crazy! ADAM was on! First the very cool, very loud, very flashy intro, which segues right into "Whole Lotta Love" and there's Adam rockin' out on stage! Wow. He was just like you'd imagine him to be. It was insane. But finally, the WHOLE place was on their feet singing, dancing and screaming. He sang five songs, including his duet "Slow Ride" with Alison.

Then they put a curtain down in front of the band, and up from the stage rises Kris, sitting on a stool, with his guitar! What a contrast. But it was Kris singing "Heartless"! And he was wonderful! And we all screamed for him too. He was so good. He played the guitar, he played the piano, he played the electric guitar. Amazing. (Please, don't go and count how many times I used that word in this post. Please.)

I could definitely watch both those guys for a full two or three hours and never get tired of it.

Kris ended with "Hey Jude" and the rest of the Idols came out and joined him. Then they did a finale of Journey's song "Don't Stop Believing" and suddenly, it was all over.
I loved it. It makes me wish I was younger so I could enjoy it all without feeling like a weirdo or something. But, happily, there were LOTS of middle-agers screaming for Adam and Kris last night. Lots.

And next time, I will not take my 14 year old son who sat there with his fingers in his ears, and his elbows on his knees, looking down at the floor, then asking me if the noise hurt my head! Are you kidding me? I love the noise! I go for the noise! Yes, next time, he stays home.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Review: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Book: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, 1978 Newbery Medal Winner
Genre: YA
Rating: A-

My 10 year old daughter's been begging me to read this one ever since she read it at her school's book club. Good thing I already had it on my Dewey's Challenge list! And being a Newbery Award winner from the era of my own childhood, I'm surprised I hadn't heard of this one before now.

The book starts out when a bunch of seemingly random people end up renting rooms at a new apartment building. Then the old guy, Mr. Westing, who lives on the hill, dies. And suddenly, all the people in the apartment building are invited to the reading of the will and come to find out, they are all connected somehow to the guy! Mr. Westing, of course, has then laid out a game of sorts, complete with riddles, and clues and hints, which will help everyone figure out who his murderer is, because yep, he claims that's what's happened!

And so the game begins! Everyone is put in unlikely pairs to work together. Lots of discoveries are being made, and many strange and odd things begin to happen.

I enjoyed it all for the most part. Some things were quite easy to figure out, some things I didn't see coming at all. I think it's perfect and very fun for kids. Though I also think many of the nuances would go right over their heads.

Since this is for the Dewey's Books Challenge, I wanted to link to her review of this book and remember what she thought of it, but at the moment, I can't get to her blog. But I'm almost positive that she loved it!

Other Reviews:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009.26: Where in the World Have You Been?

For Weekly Geeks this week, we are asked to think about the places books have taken us. Fun fun assignment I'm thinking.... except for one thing... I just know I'm not going to remember all the places I've traveled through books, and it's going to make me crazy! But... I'll try my best.


The Good Earth
Sun Flower and the Secret Fan


A Fine Balance
The Far Pavilions


Anna Karinina
Fathers and Sons


The Kite Runner
A Thousand Splendid Suns


The Memoirs of Cleopatra


The Book Thief
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas


Circle of Friends


Galileo's Daughter
Angels and Demons




Girl With a Pearl Earring
Diary of Anne Frank


Cry the Beloved Country
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency


The Historian


The Scarlet Pimpernel
Les Miserables


Nights of Rain and Stars


The Moon Below
Magic or Madness


All the Pretty Horses
100 Years of Solitude


Anne of Green Gables
The Blind Assassin

USA and England

tons and tons and tons!

Okay, well. Not too bad, but I know I've had to have read something about Japan, and South America! So which ones did I forget?

create your own visited country map
or check our Venice travel guide

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Unread

Booking Through Thursday

An idea I got from The Toddled Dredge (via K for Kat). Here’s what she said:
“So here today I present to you an Unread Books Challenge. Give me the list or take a picture of all the books you have stacked on your bedside table, hidden under the bed or standing in your shelf – the books you have not read, but keep meaning to. The books that begin to weigh on your mind. The books that make you cover your ears in conversation and say, ‘No! Don’t give me another book to read! I can’t finish the ones I have!’

Several times I've posted the picture of the shelf by my bed that holds most of my TBR books waiting to be read. So instead of posting that again, I'll attempt to write a little list of what's currently on that shelf:

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Fablehaven #3 by Brandon Mull

The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti

Marley and Me by John Grogan

The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by M. T. Anderson

The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vvonnecut

Oil by Upton Sinclair

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

The House of the Spirts by Isabel Allende

Hide and Seek by Wilkie Collins

The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks

Clapton by Eric Clapton

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Peony in Love by Lisa See

Okay, okay. I'll quit now! But as you can see, I don't really need to be buying more, checking out more, or listening to any of you suggesting more! But what's the fun in that? You know I'll never stop doing any of those things, so on with the huge TBR!

Blog Post Bingo Take Two

Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness is having another round of Blog Post Bingo as part of her wonderful Blog Improvement Project. Last time I had a blast with this, and even won the $10 Amazon gift certificate! So, of course, I'm doing it again. Here's the list of posts I will try to fit in during the next couple of weeks, as explained by Kim:

A Link Post – share link (or series of links) your readers might find interesting
A Short Post – less than 200 words
A List Post – simple as it sounds, a list of some sort
An Opinion Post – take an event, news, or another blog post and share your opinion on it
A Poll or Question Post – post a poll or ask your readers a specific question for feedback
A How-To Post – You’re an expert in something; big or small, share how to do it
A Long Post – more than 700 words
A Review Post – self-explanatory, I think :)
A Definition Post – show your expertise about a topic related to your blog
NEW: A Personal Post – something that’s going on in your life, related to your normal blog topic or not
NEW: A Resource Post – you know a lot about something, share the sites/books/tutorials you go to on that topic. This is similar to a link post, except these links should be related in some way and be useful for other people who want to know about the topic.
FREE SPACE – a type of post of your choice (that is not the same as one of the previous posts)

Wish me luck! And if you have any suggestions for me for a certain kind of post, please speak up and let me know!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Review: Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

Book: Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: A-

For: Fun

I'm not sure where I was when this book, and it's series, made their debut... worrying about other things I guess. But lately, I've sure been hearing a lot about them, so better late than never I say.

This is one of those fantasy series with an immense background history, a whole new world of people, places and problems. Because of that, there was a lot of set up going on and it took me awhile to get into it. Even though this is a YA book, much of this background and names and such were quite complicated for me and made my head spin. But I imagine it's like most fantasy books where once you get going, it all comes together and makes perfect sense.

Basically, it's about this young boy who is destined to save the world. He doesn't know it yet, of course. He thinks he's just an orphan with not much knowledge about his family. He's been raised by someone he thinks is his aunt, but come to find out, she's not at all who she appears to be.

This book actually ends just as things get going, and he starts figuring out that there's much more to his life than he thought. I look forward to continuing with the series.

Some other reviews and tributes:

Monday, July 6, 2009

Review: And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander

Review: And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander
Genre: Romantic mystery with an historical feel
Rating: B+
For: F2F Book club

For our summer project, my F2F book club decided to read a series of some sort. Awhile back, I asked for suggestions here on the blog and got a bunch of great responses. So anyway, we settled on the Lady Emily Ashton series, one that I'd never heard of, but which sounded quite intriguing.

So I got this, the first one of the series, read a week or so ago, and liked it okay. It didn't blow me away or anything, and I'm not running for book 2, but will read it if I can get to it!

It's about this young girl widow. Her husband dies shortly after they get married, and she hardly knows him. In this book, she learns about him and all the crazy things he was up to. When he was alive, she didn't think much of him, but after he dies and she starts learning about him, she falls in love with him a bit too late! Luckily, he has a nice friend who is very much alive and helps her solve this mystery that her husband was all mixed in.

The book is fun because it takes place in England in the late 1800's and revolves all around art and it's interesting aura. My only problem with the book was that I wanted a little less plot, and a little more character development. Or something. Actually, it's one of those things I can't quite put my finger on as to why I don't give it an A rating. But still, it was fun!

Other Reviews:

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Sunday Salon: So Far This Year

Welcome to July and the 2nd half of the year! Here's a six month wrap up of my reading this year.

This year so far:

I've read 40 books.

27 of those have been YA books.

Most of those have NOT been challenge books, but have been "for fun" or spur of the moment books.

None of them have been NF books.

It appears I'm going down the very same path I have the last few years! Surprise surprise.

If I made a Top Ten of the year so far, here's what would make the cut:

Taken by Storm by Angela Morrison
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
The Guernsy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Wings by Aprilynne Pike
Just One Wish by Janette Rallison
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Beach Trip by Cathy Holton

Last year at this time:

I had read 53 books. I was in the process of discovering Jessica Day George, J. Scott Savage and Janette Rallison. I was currently reading Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult. I had just finished An Abundance of Katherines by John Green and The Last Lecture by Randy Paush, both of which ended up on the Top Ten list of the year. I was blogging about Favorite Literary Couples, which has continued to be one of my most popular posts since!

My ongoing goals for the rest of this year:

Read more classics.
Finish War and Peace.
Read more NF.
Read some Printz winners/honors.
Work on the TBR at my house and not add to it!

HEY! Did you know I'm trying to create a library corner at my house? Yes, I've cleared out the barbie house, the Xbox junk and other toys, and made a corner in the basement where the plan is to put some more book shelves. Next on the list, paint. Then the shelves after that. I hope it turns out how I envision it. We'll see. I'll post pictures when there's something picture worthy to post!

And so far today, I've read absolutely nothing! So, I guess that means it's time to get off and get reading.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Review: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

Book: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: A+
For: Fun

I've been wanting to read this book for quite some time, despite the fact that it's an "Oprah" book. I'd heard all the rave reviews and all the buzz and talk last year. But it's such a BIG book! And then there were those few reviews were people were saying, "But it's boring!!" And so when I got it for birthday many months ago, I didn't pick it up right away. I was scared basically. I wanted to really like it, but I was worried I wouldn't.

Well, this past month I started feeling guilty about ignoring it for so long, so I decided to make it be my treadmill book. From the very first chapter I was hooked! Why in the world did I wait so long to read this one!! Anyway, I left it on the treadmill for awhile figuring the book waiting for me was good motivation to walk. But last weekend, as I mentioned before, I couldn't stand it anymore and decided to just read it and finish it.

Yet, it's one of those books that, for me anyway, I didn't want to end, but I couldn't stop reading it either. So it was a bittersweet weekend. Wow, I loved it

As many of you know, it's based on the story of Hamlet, which, if you're like me, won't mean much since I'd totally forgotten the details of Hamlet. It's the story of a 14 year old boy, Edgar. From the time he is born, he isn't able to cry or talk. His voice does not work. So he learns sign, and observes the world. He lives on a farm with his parents who raise a special breed of dog called Sawtelle dogs. There are wonderful descriptions about the dogs and how aware they are of what's going on around them, and how in tune they are with their humans. People pay big bucks for their dogs.

So Edgar's life is quite happy with his mom, his dad and all the dogs. Then one day, his wayward uncle shows up and lives with them for a time. Things start getting a bit heated between the uncle and his dad. Life starts becoming a little more stressful and not going so smooth. So then, if you know the story of Hamlet you know what to expect, but if you don't, I'm not going to spell it all out! Just read the book!

I know some people have a hard time with the book because of the long descriptions, but this is one reason why I loved it. The barn, the dogs, what's going on in Edgar's mind, the forest, the storms, the light.... everything! I loved it. It was like I was totally there.

I also fell in love with all the characters, dogs included. (And I'm not at all a dog kind of person.) There were many deeply moving scenes that brought me to tears several times. I have a feeling this one will be one I'll want to re-read over the years to come.

I didn't watch any of the stuff about this book during it's Oprah stint. But just today, I discovered all that is still online if you are interested. I love hearing this soft spoken author explain how things came about. Also, here's the main site for the book. And I love what Stephen King has to say about it: "I flat-out loved The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. In the end, this isn't a novel about dogs or heartland America, it's a novel about the human heart and the mysteries that live there, understood but impossible to articulate.... I don't reread many books because life is too short. I will be re-reading this one."

Other Reviews:

I'll Never Forget the Day I Read a Book
The Magic Lasso
The Dashner Dude


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